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XVIII. Read the following passage. Give some more examples illustrating the differences in grammar between the two varieties of English


Q: I thought Americans always said gotten when they used the verb get as a full verb. But you did say I've got your point, didn't you?

M: Yes, I did. You know, it's a common English belief — almost a superstition — about American usage, but it does turn out on examination, as many other things do, that we are closer together than appears on the surface. Actually, we, Americans, use gotten only when our meaning is "to acquire" or "to obtain". We've gotten a new car since you were here last. Now, when we use get to mean "possess" or "to be obliged to" we have exactly the same forms as you do. I've got a pen in my pocket. I've got to write a letter.

(From A Common Language by A. H. Marckwardt and R. Quirk)


XIX. Bead the following extract. What is a citizen of the USA called? Analyse the suggested variants of names from the point of view of word-building.


It is embarrassing that the citizens of the United States do not have a satisfactory name. In the Declaration of Independence the British colonists called their country the United States of America, thus creating a difficulty. What should the inhabitant of a country with such a long name be called?

For more than 150 years those living in the country have searched in vain for a suitable name for themselves. In 1803, a prominent American physician, Dr. Samuel Mitchill, suggested that the entire country should be called Fredonia or Fredon. He had taken the English word freedom and the Latin colonies, and from them coined Fredonia or Fredon. Dr. Mitchill thought that with this word as the name for the country as a whole, the derivative Fredish would follow naturally, corresponding to British, etc. In the same way, he thought, Frede, would be a good name for the inhabitant of Fredonia. But his fellow-citizens laughed at the doctor's names.

Such citizen names as United Statesian, shortened to Unisian and United Statian were proposed but quickly forgotten. No better success has greeted Usona (United States of North America) as a name for the country and Usonian — for a citizen.

Usage overwhelmingly favours American, as a name for an inhabitant of the USA, though all Americans realize it covers far too much territory.

(From American Words by M. Mathews)


Supplementary Material

To Chapters 3, 4




by Otto Jespersen


Ch. IV. The Scandinavians(Extract)


It is true that the Scandinavians were, for a short time at least, the rulers of England, and we have found in the juridical loan-words linguistic corroboration of this fact; but the great majority of the settlers did not belong to the ruling class. Their social standing must have been, on the whole, slightly superior to the average of the English, but the difference cannot have been great, for the bulk of Scandinavian words are of a purely democratic character. This is clearly brought out by a comparison with the French words introduced in the following centuries, for here language confirms what history tells us, that the French represent the rich, the ruling, the refined, the aristocratic element in the English nation. How different is the impression made by the Scandinavian loan-words. They are homely expressions for things and actions of everyday importance; their character is utterly democratic. The difference is also shown by so many of the French words having never penetrated into the speech of the people, so that they have been known and used only by the 'upper ten', while the Scandinavian ones are used by high and low alike; their shortness too agrees with the monosyllabic character of the native stock of words, consequently they are far less felt as foreign elements than many French words; in fact, in many statistical calculations of the proportion of native to imported words in English, Scandinavian words have been more or less inadvertently included in the native elements. Just as it is impossible to speak or write in English about higher intellectual or emotional subjects or about fashionable mundane matters without drawing largely upon the French (and Latin) elements, in the same manner Scandinavian words will crop up together with the Anglo-Saxon ones in any conversation on the thousand nothings of daily life or on the five or six things of paramount importance to high and low alike. An Englishman cannot thrive or be ill or die without Scandinavian words; they are to the language what bread and eggs are to the daily fare.

Ch. V. The French (Extract)


Many of the French words, such as cry, claim, state, poor, change, and, one might say, nearly all the words taken over before1350 and not a few of those of later importation, have become part and parcel of the English language, so that they appear to us all just as English as the pre-Conquest stock of native words. But a great many others have never become so popular. There are a great many gradations between words of everyday use and such as are not at all understood by the common people, and to the latter class may sometimes belong words which literary people would think familiar to everybody.

From what precedes we are now in a position to understand some at least of the differences that have developed in course of time between two synonyms when both have survived, one of them native, the other French. The former is always nearer the nation's heart than the latter, it has the strongest associations with everything primitive, fundamental, popular, while the French word is often more formal, more polite, more refined and has a less strong hold on the emotional side of life. A cottage is finer than a hut, and fine people often live in a cottage, at any rate in summer.

The difference between help and aid is thus indicated in the Funk-Wagnalls Dictionary; 'Help expresses greater dependence and deeper need than aid. In extremity we say "God help me!" rather than "God aid me!" In time of danger we cry "help/ help!" rather than "aid! aid!" To aid is to second another's own exertions. We can speak of helping the helpless, but not of aiding them. Help includes aid, but aid may fall short of the meaning of help.' All this amounts to the same thing as saying that help is the natural expression, belonging to the indispensable stock of words, and therefore possessing more copious and profounder associations than the more literary and accordingly colder word aid, cf. also assist. Folk has to a great extent been superseded by people, chiefly on account of the political and social employment of the word; Shakespeare rarely uses folk (four times) and folks (ten times), and the word is evidently a low-class word with him; it is rare in the Authorized Version, and Milton never uses it; but in recent usage folk has been gaining ground, partly, perhaps, from antiquarian and dialectal causes. Hearty and cordial made their appearance in the language at the same time (the oldest quotations 1380 and 1386, NED.), but their force is not the same, for 'a hearty welcome' is warmer than 'a cordial welcome', and hearty has many applications that cordial has not (heartfelt, sincere; vigorous: a hearty slap on the back; abundant: a hearty meal), etc.


To Chapter 8


by George McKnight


Tropes (Extract)


In the development of language it is well established that the things first to receive names were the definite, tangible things coming most close in everyday experience.

The less tangible elements in life were named by means of figurative shifts of earlier names. Thus the concrete names of space relations, which were appreciable by sight and touch, were made to serve in expressing the relations of time, matters outside the direct range of five senses.

Thus long and short applied to time, are words originally expressing spatial dimension. The adjective brief, now associated with time, comes from the Latin brevis originally applied to space... Most of the names for divisions of time may be traced back to words expressing physical facts: minute (Lat. minutus, "small"), second (Med. Lat. secunda minuta, "second minute", i. e. further subdivision); ...month (moon);

year (underlying meaning "spring")...

The verb last, "to endure", in earlier English applied to spatial continuance. Endure goes back to a physical meaning "to become hard". Fast in the sense of "rapid", is derived from an earlier meaning "firmly fixed". Rapid, in turn, goes back to an earlier physical meaning "snatching"; it is related in origin to such words as rapacious and rapine. Quick, a native English word, had an original meaning, "living", a meaning surviving in such combinations as quicksilver, quickline, cut to the quick, the quick and the dead.

In like manner moral conceptions have had to appropriate names from the physical world. Even the fundamental words, right and wrong, originally meant physically "straight" and "crooked", respectively (cf. right angle, right away, etc., and О. Е. wringan, "to twist"), and it will be noted that in modern colloquial language the shift in meaning has been repeated in the case of the words, straight and crooked. The fundamental meaning of good is supposed to be "fitting" or "suitable"; that of evil is supposed to be "excessive". The word bad, which somewhat mysteriously makes its first appearance in the Middle English period, it is supposed, applied originally to a form of physical abnormality ... True, as it is pointed out elsewhere, in its remote origin, probably applied to the oak tree.

The way in which a simple set of words may be made to express a complex variety of meanings is illustrated further by the use made of names of such elemental conceptions as the parts of the body, the names of which are shifted to express a remarkably varied set of meanings in the inanimate world or in the world of thought. The name head appears in bridgehead, head of a pin, head of an institution, head of a class, fountain head, head of a coin, head of cattle, headland. The Latin caput "head", and its French derivative, chief, appear in a series of meanings equally varied, in such words as captain, capital (city), capital (property), chief (noun and adjective) and chef (of kitchen).

To Chapter 10


by F. R. Palmer


Hyponymy (Extract)


In the last section we discussed classes or sets of incompatible items. But there are also words, that refer to the class itself. This involves us in the notion of INCLUSION in the sense that tulip and rose are included in flower, and lion and elephant in mammal (or perhaps animal — see below). Similarly scarlet is included in red. Inclusion is thus a matter of class membership.

Lyons' term for the relation is HYPONOMY. The ‘upper’ term is the SUPERORDINATE and the 'lower' term the HYPONYM. In the previous section we were concerned with members of a class with, that is to say, co-hyponyms. Yet oddly there is not always a superordinate term. Lyons' own work led him to observe that in Classical Greek there is a superordinate term to cover a variety of professions and crafts, 'carpenter', 'doctor', 'flute player', 'helmsman', 'shoemaker', etc., but none in English. The nearest possible term is craftsman, but that would not include doctor, flute player or helmsman. Similarly, and rather strangely, there is no superordinate term for all colour words, red, blue, green, white, etc.; the term coloured usually excludes black and white (and grey too), or else (used to refer to race), means 'non-white'.

The same term may appear in several places in the hierarchy. This is, of course, possible only if it is polysemic; in one of its meanings it may actually be superordinate to itself in another meaning (though we should usually avoid using both terms in the same context). Thus animal may be used (i) in contrast with vegetable to include birds, fishes, insects as well as mammals, (ii) in the sense of 'mammals' to contrast with birds, fishes and insects, to include both humans and beasts, (iii) in the sense of 'beast' to contrast with human. Thus it occurs three times in the hierarchical classification of nature.

There is a similar situation with the word dog. The word sheep is used for all creatures of a certain species; it is the superordinate term of ewe, lamb, ram, etc. There are similar terms pig for sow, boar, piglet and horse for stallion, mare, colt, etc. But the superordinate term for dogs is dog, though dog is also the hyponym as distinct from bitch. We can, of course, avoid the ambiguity of dog by using the term male', thus male dog would be hyponym to contrast with bitch. We can also form hyponymous sets where no single-word hyponyms exist in English in a similar way, e. g. giraffe, male giraffe, female giraffe, baby giraffe. The terras cattle and poultry are a little odd in that, though they are superordinate, they are used only for plural reference (though, of course, we need the superordinate term quite commonly for the plural). Thus, though we may say Those are cattle to include Those are cows. Those are bulls, we have no single term to put in the frame That is a —. The most likely term here would be cow. (I personally would find it difficult to say That is a cow of a bull, but would not be unhappy with the definition of a bull as a male cow.) With poultry the situation seems to vary according to interest and dialect. The terms cock (or cockerel and, in America, rooster), hen and chick are available, but many people use hen or chicken as the superordinate term, though would not, I suspect, ever wish to refer to the male bird as a hen. In my own 'native' dialect there is no problem — the superordinate term is fowl.





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Vol. 5271.



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